The deceased Raticate shut its mouth, cutting off the screeches. With eyes still veiled in darkness, it glared at the pair with unnerving intelligence. Ivan glared back as he got two talisman from his pocket. The Raticate stiffened and jumped onto the roof again, its movements hindered but still quick. Ivan glanced at Mark Antony.
“Do you think you can do that attack again?” he asked, his words still soft with awe.
Though he could still feel the sharp tingling on his left side, Mark Antony nodded. Ivan nodded back and was about to sprint onward when his arm was grabbed from behind. He was turned around but not with the painful strength he expected from an angry townsperson.
“F-Father!” Ivan bit his lip upon meeting Damien’s stony stare. To anybody else, they would have been filled with cold anger. His son knew too well the confusion and worry that swirled beneath the façade he put on. “How di-di you find me? Why are you here?”
Damien gave the child a hurt look. The firm hold he had on Ivan did not loosen. “Your mother came to get me because you wandered off. Why do you insist on worrying her, Ivan? Why?”
Gone was the defiance Ivan had shown to the townspeople. Eyes wide and guilt-ridden, he mumbled, “I needed to do something. I didn’t want to worry Mom, but I had no choice.”
“You went to see the fortuneteller.”
With a visible flinch, Ivan said, “Yes.” Realizing Damien must have heard the news from the townspeople, he sputtered, “I’m not trying to bring bad luck to the town or anything, Father, I swear! I’m not crazy! Please don’t take me back home!”
Damien blinked, and Ivan paled. He had never
yelled at his father.
“Ivan, can you really see them?” his father asked hesitantly and without the usual edge to his voice. “You could see what those… objects were surrounding, couldn’t you?” Damien already knew the answer. The questions were more like accusations, as though he was daring Ivan to agree and run off towards danger once again.
Glancing at the two talismans he had taken out from his pocket and then at his father’s eyes, he said with resolve, “Yes, I can.”
The man’s eyes hardened, but the loosening of his grip betrayed the worry underneath the anger. Finally, he let Ivan go. The boy took off before more was said. Mark Antony took a moment to study Damien’s face. With that angry but resigned expression, he eerily resembled his own father. Something in Mark Antony’s heart ached, and an unsettling thought came over him.
Does my father know I’m dead?
“Den!” Ivan called to him. “Come on!”
Mark Antony gave Damien one more meaningful look. ~ “I’ll take care of him.” ~
The human seemed to understand. Damien nodded and let him go.
They exited the small alley between the two houses and arrived at Lavender Town’s market square. Ivan stopped and ignored the stares he was given from those brave enough to sell their wares and products in the midst of all that was happening. His eyes analyzed every shadow in sight. He wasn’t sure if the two talismans had held up doing the chase.
The doubt was soon dashed.
“Den, over there!”
Mark Antony smirked at the sight before them. ~ “How pitiful.” ~
As though it could hear Mark Antony’s silent snickering, the Raticate hissed and tried to turn its head. Unfortunately, from where it was trapped face first in a shadow cast from a house, it could only squirm in fury. Even Ivan had to smile in mirth; he was tempted to pull it out by the tail.
“I don’t think we need your expertise, Den,” the thirteen-year-old said. Ivan chuckled as he neared the wiggling spirit.
The two talismans in his hand leapt to join their brothers. The four pressed tightly against the Raticate, making it screech in pain only souls could feel.
Mark Antony cringed despite himself. He thanked Ivan that no more Flings were needed. He had been so caught up with the chase and Damien’s appearance that it wasn’t until now that he noticed the tingling had grown worse. Putting a paw to his chest, Mark Antony could feel the frantic thumping of his heart.
The talismans gave a burst of power. The soul was plucked from the shadow to hover before the duo. Fur now covered its head. Enraged amber eyes burrowed into Ivan’s, daring him to come closer. The boy couldn’t help but let out a short, mocking laugh. The ghoul’s ears flew back in anger, and it tried to struggle its way out of the talismans’ hold. It only succeeded in causing a bolt of pain to run through its body; somehow, Mark Antony knew it was the pain of having your soul split.
Finding himself pitying the ghost a bit, the guardian took one solitary step forward, ignoring the tingling on his left side.
“Do not approach!”
The words erupted from the Raticate’s mouth. Mark Antony narrowed his eyes, then scowled when Ivan gave a gasp; he had understood.
“You talk!” Ivan blurted out, the smile on his face collapsing.
Mark Antony moved back not because of the ghoul’s words but because the stalls’ vendors were being approached by those who had surrounded Ivan minutes ago.
The Raticate hissed in pleasure. “They’re coming for you,”
it said, almost singing. “They’re coming to take you away from this ignorant town!”
“Shut up!” Ivan yelled. A shimmer of fear was present in his eyes. “They’re going to see you, and I’ll prove that you guys are the ones causing Lavender Town’s troubles!”
The Raticate managed to twists its head to glance at the approaching townspeople. They froze and cried out in alarm.
Ivan regained his smile. “They see you,” he proclaimed, resisting the urge to point and laugh in triumph. “They can see you!”
Mark Antony did not smile. His eyes were set on the people. Even with the poor vision of a Cubone, he saw their horrified faces. Raticate kept on smirking until, eventually, Ivan’s grin faded away.
“Now do you see, foolish boy?”
the dead rat remarked. “They are not impressed or relieved. They are horrified at what you summoned.”
“I did not summon you!”
“Does it matter?”
Raticate grinned even wider. “They just see a crazy human and a Pokémon that wasn’t there before.”
Ivan just glared, biting so hard on his bottom lip that it was about to bleed. Before Mark Antony could do anything, Ivan grabbed the last talisman from his pocket and pointed it at the mirth-filled spirit. The Raticate cried out as a rope of energy connected it with the mirror like a lasso. With a tug, it was pulled along as Ivan ran to jump on the lip of the dried-up fountain.
“Listen up!” he yelled to the people before him. When their surprised eyes met his, Ivan defiantly lifted his chin and forced the ensnared ghost close to them. The humans recoiled with mixed cries of horror, disgust, and anger. “This
is what is causing all the trouble!”
Mark Antony moaned in his head. The murmuring of the crowd sent a ball of dread to settle in his stomach. Quickly, he ran towards the boy. He’s digging his own grave.
“Talk,” Ivan ordered of the spirit with a tug. The Raticate winced, arching its back but otherwise staying silent. Ivan scowled, the emotion looking very out of place on his young and normally passive face. “Why won’t you talk?”
“Ivan,” somebody from the crowd addressed him. There was no anger in the voice, only weariness, as though he was trying to soothe a rabid animal. “Call that thing away.”
“But you don’t understand!” Ivan shouted, unable to keep a frustrated growl from his words. Most of the crowd shirked away. “I didn’t call it here! These ghosts are already here!”
It was now Ivan’s turn to step back. He caught himself before he fell and looked down upon the disbelieving crowd.
They didn’t believe him.
“Of course they don’t believe you,”
the dead Raticate said with a fanged grin. “They don’t like to believe in what they can’t see. They hate the unknown.”
Ivan snapped his head first to the captured ghoul and then to the people. Their expressions grew even more wary.
“They can’t understand you…” Ivan whispered in disbelief. He already felt tears of disappointment welling up in his eyes.
Ivan wiped them away with a sleeve and jumped from the fountain’s edge, ignoring the protests of both townspeople and Mark Antony. It wasn’t until his back was against the wall of a faraway house that he stopped and took a shuddering breath. He looked down at the talisman in his hand and the rope of energy that held the spirit in place.
Without daring to look at those luminescent yellow eyes, he asked, “Why not…?”
“They don’t posses the sixth sense you do.”
Mark Antony caught up with them and watched the ensnared ghoul as it shot down Ivan’s last rays of hope. “No petty, spelled object can truly allow a human to understand the dead.”
Ivan felt his eyes widen. “So you spirits really are… dead?”
The ghost gave its most dangerous grin yet. “We are the restless souls of Pokémon who have been left for dead, thrown away like objects at the side the road. For some reason, we are drawn to your town. We feel we can find peace here.”
“So you’re trying to run us out?” Ivan blurted out. “Are you trying to kill us because you feel angry at the humans who raised you? We’re not like that! I can help you! I can - !”
“We do NOT need your sympathy!”
Raticate growled and bared its teeth. “Or your help. When you humans are out of the way, I
know we’ll be at peace, somehow.”
Ivan stumbled back and fell when Raticate reared up in his face. “Leave or you’ll be done away like everybody else.”
As Mark Antony helped Ivan to his feet, it turned its eyes on him. “It’ll be wise for you to leave. You’ll only get betrayed at the end.”
~ “Go to Hell,” ~
the Cubone quipped back.
Raticate scoffed. “I already did.”
Each talisman that held it shattered. Ivan covered his face as a shower of mirror shards rained down. Mark Antony ignored it and jumped towards the cackling spirit. Raticate glanced at him, chuckled once more, and melted into the shadows behind him. The Pokémon glared at the ground, then gave it a pound with his bone club.
“We’re on the right track, Den.”
Mark Antony whirled around and held back an incredulous laugh. ~ “Our only lead escaped, and you are now, undoubtedly, deemed mentally ill by the populace of your town. How are we on the right track?” ~
The boy picked up on the Pokémon’s skeptical tone and bowed his head in shame. “I know it’s bad, but the spirit did say that all of them were attracted to Lavender Town for some inexplicable reason. Maybe if we find out the reason, we can help them or get them away from here.”
Still doubtful, Mark Antony shook his head. He probed the shattered glass at his feet as Ivan racked his mind for another harebrained scheme.
“I am not going to stand here and let them take our town,” Ivan retorted, arms crossed and chin held high. “I’m the only one who can do anything about it.
“Lavender Town may not have much, but we do have one of the biggest libraries in Kanto. The information we need is bound to be there, whatever that information… may be.”
Upon hearing the creeping sob in Ivan’s voice, Mark Antony looked up. The boy once again had tears in his eyes.
“Den… what will my mom say? When she hears?”
Mark Antony closed his eyes and said nothing. Ivan soon scooped him up in his arms.
But he stood there, unsure if home was truly safe anymore.
A/N: It's finally here! Sorry for the long wait, guys. I actually had this done last weekend, but when I went away to Band Camp on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and then I had practice Thursday and Friday, I hadn't had time to proofread.
I can't believe this chapter is the third chapter of this arc; originally, it was only going to be one chapter. O-o I'm pretty sure Chapter Eleven will tie up this arc. If it gets too long, it'll end on Chapter Twelve. This arc may not be very important to the overall story plot, but it has helped me in developing Mark Antony. Also, this arc actually ends in a game canon point. Can you guess what it is?
They'll be more canon illusions in this story - I know for a fact there's going to be one right after this arc ends and another in Book Three. When I mean by canon illusions, I mean, "Why is this here?" "How did this become to be?" I'll use this story to come up with some of these answers.
I'm sorry if there's more mistakes than usual in this chapter. I was actually rushing through the proofreading a bit because I'm going to leave for a week to visit my sister (just me; yay for sister bonding time!), and I didn't want to force you guys to wait another week. Also, I'll search for a chapter song when I come back if one doesn't hit me before I leave tonight. You guys have any suggestions?
I'm actually putting a deadline for Chapter Eleven. I'm going to try my absolute hardest to have Chapter Eleven up on September 8th, which is my 18th birthday. On my dead fan-fic Destiny's Tag
, I posted a chapter on my 15th birthday, so it seems fitting I post another chapter on my birthday.
Now, what happens in Chapter Eleven? Ivan and Mark Antony go and investigate this grand library, though they'll have to be sneaky about it; it seems the library is only open to scholars, not the common folk. While there, they uncover vital history about Lavender Town.